Sunbury Lions will have to make the Ballarat Netball League grand final the hard way after a shock semi-final loss to North Ballarat City.
A poor second quarter proved to be the Lions’ undoing. After scoring the first four goals of the second quarter to open up a six-goal lead, the Lions were out-scored 19-4 for the rest of the quarter to trail 29-20 at half-time.
The Lions managed to level the scores early in the third quarter but another lapse meant they were five goals down at the last change.
They hit the front in the last quarter, for most of which the two teams went goal for goal.
At the final siren City was in front, winning 55-54.
Lions coach Adam Boldiston said the result would be a wake up call for his side, which will have to win a preliminary final against Redan on Saturday.
The loss was the Lions’ first of the year.
“You’ve never going to win a game of netball when you only play well for 35 of the 60 minutes,” Boldiston said.
“We won three quarters by 10 goals, but lost one quarter by 11 goals and that’s the difference.
“I don’t think the girls stuck to the task. Maybe we got complacent at times.”
Despite being bitterly disappointed, Boldiston said there were positives that could be taken from the loss. He said changes he made at half-time worked and got them back into the game.
“We shot 34 goals for the second half, which is good going,” he said. “We showed a great fight back.”
Goal shooter Chloe Curran was named the Lions’ best. She shot 49 goals from 53 attempts. Tarryn Munro and Ashleigh Hardy were the Lions other standouts.
It wasn’t all bad news for the Lions, with their C and D-grade sides winning through to grand finals.
The C-grade side came from behind to force overtime against Lake Wendouree before winning 39-36. The D-grade side defeated East Point, 36-32 in their semi-final.
The Lions’ B-grade team is through to a preliminary final.